Rachel Jeantel might be a key witness for the prosecution in the Florida murder trial of George Zimmerman, but not everyone is convinced she's helping. Zimmerman, 29, is facing second-degree murder charges, but the former neighborhood watch captain maintains that he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012 in self-defense.
In Jeantel's second day on the stand, the defense suggested the 19-year-old had lied when she originally spoke about the night Martin was killed. Jeantel, however, said that the written transcript from her April 2012 deposition was wrong, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Trust me, they messed up,” she said.
The witness was practically arguing with defense attorney Don West over what she did or didn’t say about Martin’s final words. According to the transcript, Jeantel said she “could have” heard her friend telling Zimmerman to “get off,” but in court on Thursday she said she “could hear Trayvon” saying “get off.”
Jeantel tried to explain matters, according to HLNTV: "If he was going to confront the man, he would have told me, ‘I am about to confront the man and see what he wants.’ He did not tell me that, sir. He just told me he tried to get home, sir. But the man was still following him, sir.”
So what’s the big difference over a few words? The prosecution is alleging that if Martin was telling Zimmerman to “get off,” then Zimmerman must have attacked him. The defense, however, maintains Martin started the confrontation and hit Zimmerman’s head against the pavement, which led him to shoot Martin in self-defense.
[Editor’s note: The following contains language that could be offensive to some readers]
But the “get off” part of the trial wasn’t the only tense moment between Jeantel and West. The two also disputed whether or not the term “creepy ass cracker” was a description of Zimmerman and if it was offensive to others.
When the defense implied it was Martin who made the altercation racially motivated because he referred to Zimmerman as a “cracker,” Jeantel said that wasn’t the reason. She believed the reason it was racially motivated was because the 29-year-old was following her friend, NBC News added.
Jeantel’s demeanor, diction, attitude and reliability have some watchers questioning whether or not she’s a good witness. Social media has been tearing into the 19-year-old, picking her apart for her appearance and the way she presents herself in court.
Check out a YouTube video of the court case below to see the exchange between West and Jeantel over Martin calling Zimmerman a “creepy ass cracker.”